FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Summer, as you all know, officially begins Tuesday, but the “101 Days of Summer” " the way that our safety experts view the season " began with Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day.

Safety-wise, the good news is that summer 2011 is beginning with roughly 20 percent fewer accidents than last summer. But during the Memorial Day long weekend, the Army lost two Soldiers to off-duty drowning accidents. As you know, many drowning cases are preventable. We just need to keep our heads in the game, particularly when we are off duty.

Although I expect you to enjoy yourself this summer and to have fun with your friends and family, I also encourage you to remember safety in all that you do. Incidentally, June is National Safety Month, which means we need to look out for one another in the weeks ahead.

My most important concern is for the safety of all members of the Fort Jackson community " this remains uppermost in my mind. I ask you to remember that Composite Risk Management applies to all of our activities, on and off duty, during the high-risk critical days of summer. Always take a moment and consider the risks associated with any activity and implement effective control measures to help you mitigate or eliminate the hazards.

Water recreation activities can be tremendous fun and a great way to spend time with friends and family, but do it safely. Always keep an eye on the youngsters. Consider swimming lessons for you and your family. If you intend to go boating, make sure you have completed a boating safety course.

When on the water, regardless of what type of watercraft you are using, always wear a personal floatation device. The Coast Guard has excellent boating safety information available on its website at

There is a lot of other information that can be found on the internet as well.

The United States Army Combat Readiness Center has put together a truly outstanding Safe Summer Campaign webpage that provides tips, tactics and procedures to be safe throughout the summer. You can find the webpage on the Combat Readiness Center website at

Also, the Summer Safety site provides a variety of safety resources and tools for your use.

The Off Duty " On Guard site provides a good interactive safety experience (

If you click on this link you will find reams of safety information on a number of safety topics. As for seasonal safety, the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center has already launched the 2011 Safe Summer Campaign.

This year’s campaign, which began in April and runs through September 30, encourages every member of the Army family to get out and enjoy all that summer has to offer, but to ask yourself, “What have you done to save a life today?”

The campaign site lets you access posters, videos and feature articles on several summer safety topics including grilling and food preparation, travel, swimming and ATV safety. These products are meant to bolster existing safety programs by providing information on topics which Soldiers, family members and civilians may enjoy during their off duty time.

Your leadership has been charged to ensure you have the knowledge and tools you need to stay safe, but let me also encourage you to engage the aFort Jackson Safety Center for assistance. They provide a wide variety of products and training. You can contact the safety center at 751-6004. I remain committed to the idea that we can work, train, and play hard and still be safe if we stay alert and aware, and we take care of each other.
Be smart. Be safe.

Victory Starts Here and Army Strong!